There are now over 30,000 North Korean defectors residing in South Korea.
And according to the “2015 Reunification Awareness Study” conducted by Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, citizens who held a friendly (45.6%) view of defectors from North Korea were outnumbered by those who felt distant from them (54.4%). However, the number of citizens who view defectors in a positive light is increasing.
While in 2007 only 36.1% of people responded favorably to North Korean defectors, the proportion increased to 40% in 2015.
“If you compare this situation to 10 years ago, I believe that South Korean society has experienced positive changes in regards to its treatment of defectors. 20 years has now passed since defectors began officially entering South Korea, and there are greater settlement benefits, and perceptions of this have slowly changed,” said Shin Mi Nyo, president of the Organization for One Korea who has been involved in defector resettlement efforts for over 14 years.
However, social distance, referring to the relative degree of intimacy towards defectors on a person to person basis has remained unchanged. Those who answered the survey increasingly sought to distance themselves from defectors as these individuals were placed hypothetically closer in relation to them: from neighbor to co-worker to business and marriage partner.
This entry was posted in North Korean refugee by Grant Montgomery.